How to Disinfect an Environment of Clostridium Difficile

Bleach is effective in killing C. difficile.
Bleach is effective in killing C. difficile. (Image: Buccina Studios/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Clostridium difficile, usually referred to as C. difficile, is a dangerous and infectious bacteria that can kill the elderly, people with weak immune systems or children with a history of antibiotic use. The bacteria is common, but causes problems when it produces toxins that are dangerous to humans. Outbreaks of Clostridium difficile usually occur in hospitals, but can happen elsewhere. Disinfecting an environment of Clostridium difficile is difficult because it can survive on surfaces for months.

Things You'll Need

  • Chlorine bleach
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Microfiber cloths

Throw away items that cannot be wiped down with bleach or washed with bleach, such as curtains and wash any blankets or sheets with bleach.

Mix one part chlorine bleach with ten parts hot water.

Wipe down as many surfaces as possible with the chlorine bleach solution, including desks, tables, counters and floors with microfiber cloths and the bleach solution. Use a new microfiber cloth for each room and dispose of the used microfiber cloths.

Wipe down more delicate surfaces such as computer keyboards and electronics with disinfectant wipes. The University of Carolina reports that using chlorine-containing wipes will kill up to 95 percent of Clostridium difficile.

Disinfect tables and floors daily and clean items like walls and blinds when they appear dirty.

Tips & Warnings

  • Frequent hand-washing helps prevent the spread of Clostridium difficile. However, hand sanitizers that are alcohol-based are not effective against the bacteria because it is the rubbing and rinsing action of hand washing that works.

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